Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


Hacking my way back against the MS MonSter

Spring allergy season and the warm-weather cold season are raging, and multiple sclerosis warriors are slugging it out against extra symptoms. Some face added frustrations, as any illness can make living with MS increasingly challenging.

For me, it started with seasonal allergies. Heck, I never even had seasonal allergies till my mid-30s. Now they are a pretty predictable harbinger of spring.

Warm winds blew, as I planted my garden and patio pots with bright spring flowers. Dust and pollen whirled (most unseen) around me, while I trotted my dog out for daily jaunts in quiet neighborhoods and woodsy trails.

Then the sneezing started. We’re not talking about a few dainty little sniffles. These were non-stop manly snorts that took my breath away and could have cleared crowded amphitheaters.

Before long, simple allergies led to head congestion, followed by sinusitis and then a full-blown sinus infection. Meanwhile, fluid began building up in my lungs, leaving me wheezing and coughing like a sick dinosaur. At night, I gasped in my bed, with a rattling rale that sounded like someone was moving heavy equipment inside my chest walls.

Breathing difficulties exacerbated the nearly ever-present MS vertigo too.

This is not exactly the spring picnic I had hoped for, I groaned to myself.

Yada. Yada. You know the drill.

MS complicates everything. In a flash, the dreaded MS hug wrapped around my torso. I couldn’t catch a breath – or a break.

Like any experienced MSer, I know we face an increased risk of contracting pneumonia. And the stark reality is clear: People don’t die of MS. But they can die of complications of MS. And the primary culprit is often pneumonia.

“Get thee to a doctor,” is the perennial refrain.

Finally, I did.

At the clinic, they diagnosed me with a sinus infection and bronchitis. They gave me a boatload of prescriptions, including antibiotics and a powerhouse antihistamine/decongestant and an inhaler.

Oh, and pretty clear instructions to slow down for a while.

Yeah, right.

Mostly, this is all helping. I get that it’s gonna take some time. I’m still overdoing it (in terms of personal exertion), nearly daily, and paying a price for that.

Like any medications, these drugs have a few side effects I don’t like. And the antibiotic pills are ginormous and hard to swallow, especially with the MS gag reflex in full attack mode.

But I am grateful to have the prescription treatments. In days gone by (like before antibiotics), basically healthy people used to die from these sorts of illnesses. Now those conditions may just lay us up for a week or so. Sure, I know it will take a little longer to come back to full speed (just because the MS MonSter lurks for times when we are compromised like this).

I’m still hacking with a chest-racking cough. I’m still sneezing non-stop. I’m still going through tissue boxes like they are going out of style. I still run out of steam far faster than usual.

But I’ll be back … once I catch my breath again!

Adapted by this user 
from GNU Documentation License photo
Wikipedia Commons Images

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